Man Fired for Attending Son’s Birth
My husband almost missed the birth of our son because when I called his supervisor to say that I was in labor, the message wasn't delivered. I was literally in the maternity ward and our son was about an hour away from making his grand appearance when my husband called on his lunch break like he does every night. My friend answered my cell and told him to get in his car and to the hospital immediately. Jay was worried that if he rushed to the hospital and I was in false labor, that he'd be written up at work for leaving and face being fired. My inner grizzly came out and I insisted he show up and that we'd deal with any work consequences later. Jay made it just in time.
Bringing a child, whether your first or eighth, into this world is the greatest and most monumental life event and yet some employers treat it as though it's an inconvenience and they penalize people on what should be the happiest day of their life. And I find this absolutely disgusting.
Lamar Austin experienced the joy of becoming a father for the fourth time on New Year's Day as he stood next to his wife while she brought their son into the world. But what should have been an amazing day, turned into a nightmare when Austin was fired.
In order for Austin to be present for the birth of his child, he had to miss two days of work and because he was working part-time and still in his trial period, the military veteran received a text only hours before his son was born informing him that his position was terminated.
Austin had to pick between keeping his job or putting his family before the demands of work and he did what he felt was right in his heart, telling the Concord Monitor, "I'm just going to do what I feel is right for my family and that’s it."
Austin's story began to make the rounds and really picked up steam when his local newspaper covered it. Someone set up a GoFundMe page, which has already received over $10,000 and after the newspaper shared Austin's story, job offers began to come in.
I was reading through some of the comments on the GoFundMe page and people were asking why Austin wasn't allowed to use FLMA. A lot of people believe that everyone qualifies for the Family Medical Leave Act and also that any time used is paid. This is not at all true.
As a matter of fact, there are a lot of loopholes within the FMLA law that seem to benefit the employer more than they do the employee. When I was pregnant, I was told that I'd be allowed 12 weeks of maternity leave, but that my company wouldn't be paying me for any of that time off. My doctor told me that it was crucial to my heath that I take a full 12 weeks off from work (I won't bore you with the details, but there were major complications and I ended up having double major surgery), but there was no way I could go 12 weeks without any income. It literally just weeks before my son was born that my company decided to offer me six weeks of paid maternity leave, which was a huge burden lifted from my shoulders.
If you're having a baby, or facing serious medical issues, be sure to read up on the FMLA law so that you know if you're covered or not and if you are, make sure to check with the company you work for to find out if they'll compensate any of the time off you'll need to take.